Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 6 - 1968

It’s 1968 and our favourite series has not-so-suddenly reached it’s first milestone, celebrating its 5th anniversary. Most television series (especially dramas) don’t last to celebrate its fifth anniversary on the air - which puts the fact that Doctor Who is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year into perspective. Reaching year 5 was a major accomplishment, virtually unheard of for science-fiction series at the time - and yet all of this happened 45 years ago!

On screen we can see Doctor Who becoming more and more influenced by the 60’s counter-culture and the huge fascination and interest in space travel caused from the space race to the moon and the USA’s Apollo program. Starting with The Wheel in Space (depicted above), more and more Doctor Who stories (until the end of the decade) began to feature some form of space and/or rocket travel. As always, Doctor Who was reflecting what was happening in the world around it. Another development on screen in 1968 is that the Cybermen had successfully supplanted the Daleks as the main Doctor Who monsters, appearing in a whopping 14 new episodes that year (more accurately there were 14 episodes of Cyber-stories as the Cybermen didn’t appear in every single episode, but enough with the pedantry). The Daleks were hardly forgotten though - another first this year was the first time in the UK that an entire story had been repeated - with the 7-part story The Evil of the Daleks keeping fans entertained during the summer of 1968 to help bridge the gap between Seasons 5 and 6 (and the only repeat which is actually woven into the narrative of the program itself, with the Doctor showing the story to Zoe at the end of The Wheel in Space to let her know what adventures were in store for her). If only it was that easy to repeat The Evil of the Daleks in its entirety today…...

1968 was the last year that featured a broadcast of Doctor Who almost every Saturday of the year in the UK - by 1969 things were to change permanently, but that story will be in our next entry…...


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